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Egypt draft publications law threatens freedom of press, journalists group says

[JURIST] The Federation of Arab Journalists (FAJ) [advocacy website, in Arabic] on Monday issued a statement declaring its opposition to a draft publications law in Egypt [JURIST news archive], which the group said politicians could use to stifle journalists with the threat of jail. The FAJ asserted that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official profile, English version] promised two years ago to repeal laws that could result in prison sentences for journalists. Although the draft law removes some provisions that threaten journalists' freedom, according to the FAJ, it also adds new restrictions in other provisions.

The legislation is only one example of what critics see as attacks on the press by Egypt's government. Human rights groups have condemned last week's court decision [JURIST report] to sentence a controversial newspaper editor to a year in prison for criticizing Mubarak, and three journalists are among those on trial [JURIST report] for allegedly slandering a local election commission chief by alleging fraud in parliamentary elections. The Kuwait News Agency has more.

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